So, I have finally started making my game, which is awesome!
ok, that sounded cryptic, because If I haven’t been making my game up until this point, then what the hell have I been doing?
By “Making my game” I mean that I finally have working versions of everything in the game and I can now start creating scenes and making stuff that goes into the game. All of this actually feels like a game is being made, rather than a piece of software.
This is why I have been spending all day creating a 30 second cutscene to start the game off with. the cutscene is actually not all that impressive, but the number of things that I have been making to put in there is somewhat stagering.
I hope to show you all of the things that I have made, but thus far, you will have to make do with the promise that I will show you soon.
The last couple of months of development on “Spektakel” has been dedicated to creating the actual gameplay of the game. I have been focussed on making a combat system, which makes sense, on creating a purchasing mechanic, which is balanced and on creating a dialogue system, which displays enough emotion to be engaging.
Doing all of this has been fun and very rewarding. It’s great when the game that you are working on becomes better with every passing day.
However, I have now created all of the essential parts of the game and everything is ready for me to manipulate to my hearts content… which is scary, because now I have to start pre-production.
I have been completely avoiding anything to do with the story or the visuals of the game up util now. I have been putting it off, figuring that I could just do it later, well later has come and switching gears is proving harder than I thought it would be.
I am sure that I will manage to make something amazing out of what I have, but for now the struggle is real, especially when you put aside a full day for concept art and all you end up with is nothing.
I have probably lamented this earlier, but I feel like it needs repeating; there is nothing worse than starting up.
The problem (or rather problems) that I am encountering is in all of the code that I wrote at the start of the project, code that I havn’t looked at for months and which I thought was actually OK.
Well, as it Turns out, this particular Code is actually rather problematic, not only because it isn’t particularly well written, but also because I haven’t made any notes for myself in it.
Let me explain that last remark… when one is creating a project like the one that I am working on currently, One with allot fo code and allot of systems running simultaneously, you can end up with spaghetti code. Spaghetti code is a term for a kind of code which cirkles in and out of itself calling functions from any which way with abandon. This kind of code can be rather chaotic to have to deal with, so as a service to one self, you name everything within the code by whichever function it holds and you make copious note to yourself, so that when you skim the code later, you will be able to figure out what is going on.
Well, I have gotten into a good habit of making these notes to myself, sadly I only got into that habit by the middle of the project, when the code started to become somewhat difficult.
Now I am reading through code from before these notes started and trying to figure out what exactly I was thinking at the time.
It is like trying to read a 10 year old diary, where you have made up nicknames for every person in your life. By this time you cannot remember what nickname matches what person and you didn’t describe the person by visual features in said diary.
Needless to say, it becomes rather… difficult. Never the less, I persevere.
I am currently working on level design, as you have probably gathered by now and it’s going… well, I think.
As is it right now, I have no idea, simply because this is the first level/quest that I am designing for my game and issues keep popping up. Issues that I didn’t even know I had before I started designing the level.
My day goes something like this:
8.00 am - Start designing the level
8.30 am - figure out that my NPC’s (Non Playable Characters), should be able to blink when they are talking to my main character.
8.31 am - start working on this bit of visual fluff
8.15 pm - Done with the blink mechanic and realise that you didn’t get any part of the level designed today, because you were obsessed with a fucking blinking mechanic
8.20 pm - start crying.
I know that at some point, when all of these initial level design issues have been ironed out and everything is smooth as silk, then I will be able to design a level in a hot second, now is just not that time and it is infuriating.
Well, onwards and upwards I guess, I have a blinking mechanic to work on.
one of the things that happens allot when you are designing a game is asking yourself what if. Let me give you a hypothetical that I encountered just today.
I have an issue of quest Items.
every now and again, the player will have to talk to an NPC (Non Playable Character) and as a result of that interaction will be given an item which is prudent to the story in one way or another. This is all well and good and actually quite standart, but wait, there is a problem: Say the player has already filled up his/her inventory, but this interaction forces the game to add another thing to the inventory of the player, what happens then?
adding additional items to the inventory could potentially break the game, as the gameobject most likely would get lost, making the player unable to complete the game and breaking the entire game.
I could have the NPC ask the player character whether he/she wants to add another piece of content to the inventory, which he she would not be allowed, if the inventory is full.
I could have the item drop at the feed of the character, to be picked up when the player has the time to make space in his inventory.
I could make the game delete a random piece of inventory to make space for this new item, leaving the player with no say in the matter.
the really great thing about this problem is that it is highly hypothetical. I have not yet seen this problem in action, but I know that it could happen at some point during a play through. this sort of pre-emptive problem solving is quite normal for my kind of game development and it is one of the biggest things that hold back development.
So, I may finally have broken my slight slump, as I have started making the initial level design for the firs level of the game. Sure, there is not much there and it isn’t even all that impressive what I have done, but it is a step in the right direction.
So what have I done?
Well, I have started by plotting out exactly what I want to happen in the middle section of my game. I haven’t planned out the tutorial section, nor have I really looked into the ending of my first level, I have only just plottet out the centre of the thing.
the rational behind this, is that the other two parts of the game might quite a bit more difficult to create, so starting with the middle, will help me take it at a more steady pace… that is the thinking at least.
anyway, I am now creating a full level of placeholder shit. There is very little in this level other than coloured boxes and a placeholder character for the player character to speak to. I use this to plot out where the player character need to be and how he should move around the world.
Then once I have the interaction down, I will flesh out the world with all the design elements that are required.
Here is hoping that it’ll work.
I have been spending the last couple of month getting a functional version of my game up on Mac, which I finally have. This is kinda of the second that I have been waiting for, the second when I can finally add some material to the game and build a world around the gameplay… and umm… I am kinda blocked.
I can’t seem to commit to anything serious, because I know that the moment I do, I will have detached myself from every other opportunity that the game holds.
I have been designing games for enough time to know that this is a feeling that will pass, but this is the largest project that I have ever worked on and it is scaring the living daylight out of me knowning that once I make a decision it cannot be unmade.
at the end of the day, I know that I just have to nut up and get some stuff done, but it is still… a bit daunting.
So I have been working on creating allot of concept art for the world that I will set this game in, and I am having a bit of trouble figuring out what the palette should be.
I know that the colours that I want to use for this game are going to be pink and blue, but I need to iterate upon that for every chapter of the game, to make them look visually distinct and that is where I am hitting a bit of a wall.
I don’t know if I want for the beginning of the game to be very saturated, somewhat saturated or more demure and at this point I am so tired of staring at my options, that I have started asking random people on facebook for help… which is not helping, by the way.
For now there is nothing to do, but to make decision and go ball to the walls with that… I am just don’t know which yet.
I am currenlty working on a videogame called "Spektakel", which has some interesting gameplay mechanics. So for a visual universe, I decided to go with an 5th generation graphics on the game. This is my protagonist, Gerda.
So, I uploade a game called "Unsafe" a couple of weeks ago to mixed reviews. It is, of cause, a bit heartbreaking that to know that a game that you have worked really hard on, is not what people enjoy playing, but that does not dissuade me from making more videogames.
However, I don't think I was able to tell the full story of why I created unsafe, those few months ago. Luckily, I was given the opportunity to elaborate a couple of weeks ago. I was invited to hold a Ted talk about the game and why I created it in the first place.
You can see the talk here: